Your entire home should be a retreat that’s warm and toasty in the cold months and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, families who live in some multi-level residences find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the rooms on ground level.

This could simply be because most thermostats in a house are on the main floor, which is where people spend the most time—in the living room, kitchen, etc.—so as a result they tend to set the temperature according to how it feels on the first floor.

However, temperature discrepancies between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of issues with your HVAC system. Some of these difficulties can be sorted out somewhat quickly while others might require more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the professionals at Strine's will help you solve why the upstairs of your home is hotter than downstairs, or vice versa.

Why Is My Upstairs So Hot?

The phenomenon of the upstairs of a two-story home becoming hotter than the downstairs can be chalked up to several factors. Number one, heat rises, so it’s normal for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the main floor. Not enough insulation in the attic or roof can worsen this problem by letting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.

Another common reason is that the air conditioner is not powerful enough to cool the entire home, causing it to fight to cool the upstairs effectively.

To fix these issues, homeowners could put in additional insulation in the attic and make sure their home has adequate ventilation. If there’s concern the air conditioning unit is the right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Strine's inspect the unit. A knowledgeable professional also can help select a unit that's better suited for your home if you need air conditioning installation or replacement.

Why Is My Upstairs So Cold/Not Heating?

When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s extremely chilly upstairs, that could result in a very chilly night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most frequent causes of an upstairs not heating like it ought to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.

Inadequate insulation enables cold air to leak through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, causing colder temperatures on higher floors. It’s crucial to make sure your home has a deep, level layer of insulation in the attic and adequate insulation in the walls to keep the cold out and the heat inside.

The ductwork in a home plays a very important role in disseminating conditioned air throughout different rooms of the building. However, troubles with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the main level. A common explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the proper size or in the appropriate layout, resulting in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to be directed to the downstairs, causing insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper story.

Another potential problem area in the ductwork is the layout of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they are poorly installed, it can reduce air circulation and cause inadequate heating or cooling. Additionally, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can cause air loss, lowering the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and exacerbating the temperature difference.

To determine why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork inspected by experienced HVAC pros like the team at Strine's to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and adding new vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance airflow and ensure a more even temperature balance between the upstairs and downstairs.

Fixing the Hot or Cold Upstairs Problem?

If your upstairs is hotter or colder than the lower floors of your house, an HVAC zoning system could be a highly effective solution.

An HVAC zoning system separates the household into different zones, which each have their own thermostat and damper system so the homeowner can customize the heating or cooling of each zone.

This system can be especially beneficial in instances where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By setting up a  zoning system, homeowners can manage the temperature independently in each zone, making it possible for them to address specific hot or cold spots effortlessly.

To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in York, call Strine's. We’ve created and installed customized home comfort plans for many community members and are happy to show how an HVAC zoning system could benefit your home.

Why Is it So Humid Upstairs?

In addition to the upper story being hotter or colder than the rest of the house, another challenge in multi-floor homes is when the upstairs is more humid than downstairs.

A typical explanation for excess upper floor humidity is poor ventilation on the upper floor, which can produce higher humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, inadequate insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may permit warm, humid air from outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. In addition, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also create extra moisture in that level of a home.

To address humidity problems, homeowners can add more ventilation by using fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Adding more insulation  in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help protect against external moisture from entering the upstairs. Locating and repairing any leaks or plumbing issues is also critical.

Depending on the levels of moisture found in the home, a whole-home dehumidifier could be another valuable tool to manage humidity in your home.